Type: R-6 ground cabin
Status: Staffed in summer, rentable in winter
Visited: June 30, 2022
Today we were driving down to the Lakeview area because we had the Drake Peak lookout reserved. We had heard that the wildflowers at Hager Mountain were looking nice, so we got up early and made a very small detour on our route to stop and do the hike. (This post is about the lookout. To read more about the hike visit my adventure blog.)
As it turned out we did indeed see a fantastic wildflower display along the trail:
Greg was taking A LOT of photos, so I hiked ahead and reached the summit before him.
I met the nice woman staffing the lookout. This is her third season up here. She was kind and friendly and invited me onto the deck for a chat. Greg joined us and we sat and enjoyed the camaraderie and the views:
Of course I didn’t ask to go inside, but these 2007 photos from the Forest Service show it:
The views up here are pretty great. Looking north:
Using the zoom on my point-and-and shot I got a photo of the Three Sisters:
That big open area used to be Thompson Reservoir, but it’s mostly waterless right now:
Although the lookout is staffed in summer, it is available to rent in the winter. You have to ski or snowshoe up the trail and bring all your gear. I haven’t done this, but I hear it can get very cold and very windy up there! Zach Urness from the Statesman Journal did a video on the experience.
The public cannot drive all the way to the top so you can hike up the road or up the trail. To hike up the road, drive south from Silver Lake for 10.7 miles on paved Road 28. Turn left on Road 036 for 1.8 miles, turn left on Road 497 for 2.5 miles, and park at the gate. From there it is 1.2 mile hike up the road to the lookout. I did not do this route myself so I can’t speak to the condition of the road.
To hike the trail, drive Road 28 for 8.9 miles to the Hager Mountain Trailhead on the left. From here it is a four-mile hike gaining 2,000′ elevation gain. Alternatively, you can do what we did, which is to drive 0.2 miles beyond the trailhead on Road 28 and turn left onto unmarked Road 012. Follow this for 1.9 miles to where the road bends sharply left and there’s a large parking area with a trail sign pointing into the forest. Starting here means a five-mile round-trip hike with 1,500′ elevation gain.
The first lookout on Hager Mountain was an unusual octagonal cabin built in 1912:
This was replaced by an L-4 cabin in 1936:
In 1967 the present R-6 cabin was built: